Date of Thesis



A prototype vortex-driven air lift pump was developed and experimentally evaluated. It was designed to be easily manufactured and scalable for arbitrary riser diameters. The model tested fit in a 2 inch diameter riser with six air injection nozzles through which airwas injected helically around the perimeter of the riser at an angle of 70º from pure tangential injection. The pump was intended to transport both water and sediment over a large range of submergence ratios. A test apparatus was designed to be able to simulate deep water or oceanic environments. The resulting test setup had a finite reservoir; over the course of a test, the submergence ratio varied from 0.48 to 0.39. For air injection pressures ranging from 10 to 60 psig and for air flow rates of 6 to 15 scfm, the induced water discharge flow rates varied only slightly, due to the limited range of available submergence ratios. The anticipated simulation of deep water environment, with a corresponding equivalent increase in thesubmergence ratio, proved unattainable. The pump prototype successfully transported both water and sediment (sand). Thepercent volume yield of the sediment was in an acceptable range. The pump design has been subsequently used successfully in a 4 inch configuration in a follow-on project. A computer program was written in Matlab to simulate the pump characteristics. The program output water pressures at the location of air injection which were physicallycompatible with the experimental data.


two-phase flow, air-lift pump, vortex driven

Access Type

Masters Thesis (Bucknell Access Only)

Degree Type

Master of Science in Mechanical Engineering


Mechanical Engineering

First Advisor

Charles Knisely